Melting ice: Can cricket diplomacy bring a thaw in Indo-Pak ties?
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2015-11-28 10:58:54

Melting ice: Can cricket diplomacy bring a thaw in Indo-Pak ties?

nawaz

 

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has permitted the Pakistani cricket team to play a series against India in Sri Lanka next month, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) sources said on Thursday. According to a source in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the prime minister gave his approval for the India series only after Sri Lanka was finalised as the venue for the fixtures. “The Pakistan government never had a problem with the series going ahead. It only had reservations about the team travelling to India amid the prevailing tensions,” the source said. Indian Premier League Chairman and BCCI functionary Rajeev Shukla told reporters the series is likely to happen from December 15 in Sri Lanka, “India-Pakistan series will happen tentatively from December 15 in Sri Lanka,” he said. Pakistan and India’s cricket boards have been deadlocked for months on a venue for the series. India had refused to play in the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan rejected the Indian board’s proposal to play the series in India. Giles Clarke, who heads International Cricket Council’s Pakistan Task Force, organised a meeting in Dubai between the heads of two cricket boards last week where Sri Lanka was chosen as the venue. To date, the BCCI has given no official reason for not playing the series in UAE according to the agreement signed by them. Even the unofficial reasons – such as security concerns – are not fleshed out or presented with conviction. The fact remains that Pakistan is changing venues just because India does not feel like playing in the UAE. Moreover, the final compromise cedes too much to the BCCI.
UAE was chosen as Pakistan’s ‘home’ ground because it already contains a sizeable Pakistani expatriate population, is convenient for travel from Pakistan, and its Arab culture contains parallels to Pakistan – none of the features that will be present in Sri Lanka. In UAE Pakistan supporters would have been in the majority, in Sri Lanka – which is closer to India – the balance will be skewed in favour of the ‘visiting’ team. Empty stadiums, and the lack of support, have plagued the Pakistan team’s recent matches, playing India in UAE could have filled them; now the team faces the prospect of playing another ‘home’ series on foreign soil, in front of a foreign crowd supporting the other team.The support is not the only factor that should have been considered by the PCB. No test matches are being played in the shortened series, Pakistan’s strongest format, in which it currently is ranked number two. Furthermore, Pakistan’s familiarity with the UAE pitches and conditions will be useless in Sri Lanka, neutralising the one great advantage a home series has – mastery of the conditions. At the end of the day Pakistan may not be playing in India, but it is certainly not playing a home series either. Pakistan has been strong-armed into accepting a shortened series in a different venue so that India can quickly finish it and move on to the much lucrative tour of Australia. 

pk.shafaqna.com

Categories:   Pakistan ، India ، Sport ،
Tags:   pakistan ، India ، nawaz sharif ، PCB ، SriLanka ، BCCI ،
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